Shannon here: Kristen Hogrefe Parnell shares a Christmas blessing. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an e-copy of her latest Romantic Suspense, Take My Hand. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Dec 31st, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kristen:
This Christmas, our baby boy will be almost five months old. Last Christmas, he was just big enough to give me a positive pregnancy test and a few visits to my obstetrician for lab work.
Earlier that year, my husband and I had suffered a miscarriage, and I found my heart feeling hopeful but fragile as the initial bloodwork seemed positive this pregnancy would move forward.
Still, most online experts recommended waiting until the end of the first trimester before telling family and friends the news since the majority of miscarriages take place in the first twelve weeks.
But I had been praying so hard for good news we could share at Christmas. Even though our first sonogram wasn’t scheduled until the week after Christmas, we decided to celebrate this life regardless and surprise our families with the news on Christmas day.
Here’s what we did: We bought Christmas cards for each family member who would be joining us (grandmas, grandpa, aunt and uncle) and bought corresponding Christmas cards.
My parents were already grandparents, thanks to my older brother, but my husband is an only child. We hoped his mom Fran wouldn’t faint when she read, “Merry Christmas, Grandma.”
Keeping the secret until Christmas day was so hard. After opening presents, I pretended to have forgotten everyone’s cards and then passed them out. My husband was supposed to be secretly videoing their response on his phone, but most of the recording is of the floor once our family realized what the cards meant.
My parents beamed. James’s mom broke down crying, which of course, made me lose it too. (Speaking of Granny Fran, you can enjoy a special recipe from her at the end of this post!)
I am so glad we chose to tell our family then and celebrate our baby’s precious life, for however long God planned it to be.
Praise the Lord, I carried our baby to thirty-seven weeks before needing an induction due to some medical concerns. Although Noah started life as a little guy at only five pounds, fifteen ounces, he has made up for lost time and sports pinchable rolls on his arms and legs.
Our baby boy isn’t the only answer to prayer this year. My first romantic suspense novel, Take My Hand, released this month—a “book baby” that was years in the making. Here too, I’ve made the intentional choice to celebrate, regardless of how successful the book is. The story itself is worth celebrating, as is the opportunity for it to bless and entertain readers.
Do you have something in your life right now that you’re holding your breath about and not sure whether you can celebrate it or not? My challenge to us all is: celebrate the blessings right in front of us today. Where they go from here is up to God.
Granny Fran’s Carrot Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
1-1/3 cups cooking oil
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Sift dry ingredients together; add eggs and oil; stir in carrots and pecans. Pour into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350°. You can bake in a 9×13 pan for 40-45 minutes.
1 box powdered sugar (4 cups)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans to sprinkle on top of the iced cake
To Make the Icing in a Food Processor: Add butter and cream cheese and pulse for 10 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla and pulse for 20 seconds. (Don’t over pulse because the heat of the motor will make the icing runny.)
Question for Readers: What can you celebrate today?
About Kristen: Kristen Hogrefe Parnell writes suspenseful fiction from a faith perspective for women and young adults. Her own suspense story involved waiting on God into her thirties to meet her husband, and she desires to keep embracing God’s plan for her life when it’s not what she expects. Kristen’s books have won the Selah Award and the Grace Award, among others. An educator at heart, she also teaches English online and enjoys being a podcast guest. Kristen lives in the Tampa, Florida area with her husband and baby boy. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Take My Hand:
Don’t find us. We’ll find you.
Trauma therapist Kaley Colbert needs a vacation from her job, and a ski trip with her church singles’ group seems like the perfect way to unplug. But while in the mountains, she learns that her last client was murdered hours after their meeting, and she wonders if the notes she’s receiving from a possible stalker hold a more sinister warning.
On the trip, ex-boyfriend and entrepreneur Reef Mitchell wants to give their relationship another chance, but Kaley questions if his past and priorities could ever mesh with her life. When her client’s underworld connections catch up with her, she has no choice but trust Reef to help her stay alive, solve her client’s mystery, and bring the killers to justice.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win?
Get your copy/copies now! Take My Hand